The Great Acceleration and Hydroelectric Dam Building in Brazil

Nathalia Capellini Carvalho de OLIVEIRA About the author


In current debates about the planet's environmental future, the issue of energy uses is central, and its spatial distribution and speed of development will determine the evolution of climate change. Brazil is one of the countries that build the most dams in the world and the second greatest generator of hydroelectric power, after China. Generation of electric power from rivers has been privileged in the country since the government of Getúlio Vargas. Henceforth, the Brazilian federal state systematically promoted the development of hydroelectricity. In line with the global context, the construction of hydroelectric power stations in Brazil grew from the late 1950s onwards, especially after the military regime. This article proposes a reflection on the Brazilian electrification process from the point of view of hydroelectricity, from the introduction of this technology to the end of the military regime, adopting a multiplicity of scales. In this sense, the research seeks to clarify the factors that favored and those that restrained the hydroelectric expansion in twentieth-century Brazil and to contextualize the "great acceleration" of dam construction in the country.

dams; military regime; electricity

Pós-Graduação em História, Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Av. Antônio Carlos, 6627 , Pampulha, Cidade Universitária, Caixa Postal 253 - CEP 31270-901, Tel./Fax: (55 31) 3409-5045, Belo Horizonte - MG, Brasil - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil